Memorandum submitted by Lisa Price

I wish to comment on a clause in the Improving schools and safeguarding children Bill, namely "improving monitoring arrangements for children educated at home". I am concerned that this clause has been hastily introduced without due deliberation and consideration following the rushed Review of Home Education by Graham Badman earlier in the year, and that it does not seem to be a reasonable response to the perceived levels of risk.

It has recently been noted by the Department that the evidence for change put forward by Graham Badman was obtained from only a small sample of local authorities and is not statistically rigorous. As you will know the Select Committee is currently investigating the conduct of the Review and there is also a public consultation on the specific elements of the Badman Report which will require changes to primary legislation.

The call for evidence to the Select Committee Inquiry was announced on July 22nd. Work in this area has been restricted during the Summer while parliament is in recess and many local authority staff have been on annual leave.

We do not know when the Select Committee will announce its findings but we would not expect anything to be available before the Queen's Speech. Furthermore, the public consultation does not close until October 19th hence there is insufficient time to consider the input from stakeholders before rushing to primary legislation.

Throughout his Report, the author Graham Badman indicated many areas which were outside the scope of the inquiry or which would merit further research.

The Schools and Safeguarding Bill is already extremely wide in scope with an ambitious range of proposals which would if enacted profoundly change the relationship between schools and parents. Therefore it does not make sense to include an additional contentious clause related to home education while the Badman Review is still being investigated by the Department.

October 2009